Last Friday was the second annual RIApalooza conference here in Chicago which I attended. It is run by a number of Chicago user groups including Adobe User Group and Flex User Group. They did a great job. Hats off to Correy Miller from Magenic for a great presentation on applying UX principles in developing applications. All the food was provided by Microsoft.
There are now great tools out there to create Rich Internet Applications (RIA) including Adobe Flash and Flex and Microsoft Silverlight. Google now is starting to roll out their toolkit. However, one audience asked about IBM's contribution to providing development tools and support for Rich Internet Applications. The only mentioned was the Expeditor platform that most attendees have not hear of or disliked because of how big and bulky it is compared to Adobe's and Microsoft's solution. Unfortunately, the perception is that IBM does not seem to be involved in RIA at all.
It then hit me, what is IBM's strategy when it comes to RIA. It seems to be everywhere. There is Websphere Portal with it tools, now XPages for Domino and we have Lotus Expeditor which includes the Notes 8 client of which the development for the Lotus Notes 8 client seems fragmentated. There must be others that I missed. The question that I raise, will Xpages become the coherent toolset similar to how Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight has become. It seems that IBM needs to have one consistence tool that developers can use throughout all the different development platforms. In addition, that tool needs to work with open source back-ends. If IBM is interested in expanding it presents in the cloud computing and internet social environment, they need to start marketing to this crowd most of which really do not have idea what IBM is doing. If Lotus represents the user facing part of IBM, it need to move forward quickly to be seen as the provider of cutting edge RIA solutions for developers.